‘Triple NatWest 6 Nations champions’ has a nice sound to it, doesn’t it? Especially when…Read more
England's gargantuan gallic challenge
In what looks likely to be one of the most hard-fought matches of the tournament England certainly has its work cut out. However, landing the prize against the French will set them up nicely for the Grand Slam. Can they do it? We think they can. After talking to the England team during the filming of O2 Inside Line before the England vs Italy match we know they're fired up and ready to go. Here's how we think it'll go down…
England were impressive against Italy with none of the sloppiness that dogged them during the match against Wales. Against France they'll need to be at the top of their game but Ireland showed France are far from perfect. While he'll be vital to the game Dan Cole needs to avoid the lack of discipline that saw him taken off at half time last year. This time, England can't afford to give away easy penalties. England hasn't won the six nations since 2003 but with Chris Ashton they've got someone with an instinct for try scoring.
The French had to grind out a win against Ireland but their scrum is arguably the toughest in Europe and they go into the match with England having beaten them last year in a clash where penalties were vital. The English players will need to watch out for the explosive capabilities of pocket-dynamo Thomas Domingo. France could cause an upset – they're strong at set pieces and an have a capable back row with pace.
The English back three are a massive threat to the French with Ben Youngs and Toby Flood easily capable of dominating and controlling play. The French decision to pick the monstrous Chabal over Julien Bonnaire means we can expect Youngs to attempt to run rings around him. The French were sloppy against Scotland and Ireland and will struggle against a well-performing English back line. The French had luck on their side last week but it may run out in the face of an on-form England side. France won by two points last year. This year, we'd bet England take it by 10 points.
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